Long-billed Pipit

Anthus similis

Really? How do you know for sure?

As some of you may know, I am a firm believer that all pipits are actually African pipits, and that supposed differences in plumage, bill colouration, outer tail feathers and call, are actually the wild thoughts of an over-imaginative birder looking for more ticks for their bird list.

And yes, before outrage breaks out, I am joking. Well, not when it comes to the Kimberley and Long-tailed pipits, but definitely with respect to the easily confused buffy, plain-backed, African and long-billed. So how in the name of Oprah did I know this was a long-billed pipit? (and boy would it now be embarassing if I got this wrong ).

Firstly and most importantly, I heard it call (a lot) from the top of a nearby rock. And its call definitely matched the one on my Robert’s bird application. This was extremely helpful.

Secondly, it was in the right environment; the rocky slopes of the Underberg mountains. And finally, it looked like a long-billed pipit and showed some key ID features including; it was large, its bill base was pinkish, its outer tail feathers were buffy (although early morning light can make this difficult… I fortunately saw it fly) and it had diffuse breast markings.

Now all I can hope is that the many other more knowledgeable birders don’t tell me I got it wrong, as it won’t be the first time, but will definitely reduce my enthusiasm for trying to ID this difficult family again.


Long-billed Pipit / Underberg, KZN, South Africa / 14 April 2015 Long-billed Pipit / Underberg, KZN, South Africa / 14 April 2015 Long-billed Pipit / Underberg, KZN, South Africa / 14 April 2015 Long-billed Pipit (Leucocraspedon) / Daan Viljoen Game Reserve, Central Namibia Long-billed Pipit / Klein Aus, Namibia / June 2011 Long-billed Pipit / Daan Viljoen Game Reserve, Central Namibia Long-billed Pipit / Daan Viljoen Game Reserve, Central Namibia Long-billed Pipit / Magoebaskloof, South Africa Long-billed Pipit / Daan Viljoen Game Reserve, Central Namibia
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